Earlier this week, the Republican-led committee voted to ban the Department of Defense from purchasing alternative fuels that cost more than “traditional” fossil fuels. That would eliminate several emerging biofuels that have undergone successful testing by the Air Force and Navy over the past year on aircraft and ships. [...]
Beyond the immediate effect on military operations, the House action could also throw a wrench in a major Obama Administration biofuel initiative that was designed to provide a long term economic boost to struggling rural communities.
Launched last summer, the initiative pairs USDA with the Navy and the Department of Energy in a $510 million partnership with the private sector, to develop a biofuel supply chain including research and development, growing and harvesting biofuel crops, transportation, and refining.
The Navy’s role is to be the linchpin customer, to kickstart the emergence of a mass market for biofuel.
I’ll repeat it again — the Joint Chiefs of Staff already agreed to a budget proposal outlined under the Budget Control Act (the debt-ceiling deal) which reflects reduced spending levels.
Paul Ryan accused the Chiefs of lying when they claimed they were satisfied with the new budget. Ryan later walked-back his accusation, but since then the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has continued to push for higher defense spending, essentially trying to force more money on the Pentagon than they asked for.
This is more than that, however. It’s also a direct challenge to the Department of Defense’s plan to “go green.” A strategy developed for national security reasons, not political ones.
Are the House Republicans trying to say they know how to handle national security better than the Department of Defense?
It’s no secret that technology developed under the Pentagon’s green energy initiative will eventually find its way into the consumer market, and that’s another obvious motivation for House Republicans, who are beholden to Big Oil, to stop it.
President Obama is threatening to veto the House bill which, as far as I can tell, is only seen as preferable to House Republicans. Senate approval of the Pentagon’s budget request is a non-issue.